Contamination worries property owners

Whirlpool Park neighbors want their land tested
Tom Jackson
Dec 11, 2013
Renee and Herb Farley thought they had a lovely, isolated location for their home, right next to the former Whirlpool Park.

And then they learned the park is apparently contaminated.

After their dogs died mysteriously and they heard the park had PCBs, a substance that causes cancer, they switched from well water to bottled water for cooking and drinking. They began asking for their property to be tested.

They’re still asking. Their property is the only home that directly abuts the park, which is on the other side of a fence. And they don’t understand why Whirlpool was willing to take hundreds of samples for testing in the park, and no samples on the Farley property.

Renee said she’s scared.

“We have to sit here and wonder, is he going to get sick? Am I going to get sick?” she said. “We don’t feel like it’s safe to live here”

The Farley home is in the 1800 block of Township Road 187, right next to the former park.

When Herb Farley bought it in 2006, the pool had closed but parts of the company-owed park remained open, Renee said. Later, the park closed completely, and Jonathan Abdoo bought it, intending to build a home there.

In 2012, the U.S. EPA, acting on a tip from a hotline, carried out initial tests on the former park and found PCBs and heavy metals there. Abdoo halted his construction plans and, after negotiations between his attorney and attorneys for Whirlpool, it was agreed Whirlpool would take hundreds of soil and water samples on the site in 2013.

“Prior to their finding that, we had lost two dogs,” said Renee, 51.

One dog was 6 years old and the other was 5 years old.

“One minute they were OK,” she said. “The next minute, they’re acting lethargic”

Each of the dogs was found dead, one after the other, she said.

This year, an inside dog, 10 years old, also became sick and died. The couple has lost three dogs in three years.

After plans for the testing were announced, Renee said she asked if her property could be tested, too. She spoke to an EPA official, who told her the request would be passed on to Whirlpool.

“I never got any phone calls from Whirlpool at all,” she said. “Whirlpool never contacted me”

U.S. EPA spokesman Joshua Singer did not respond to messages left on his phone Friday and Monday, but Whirlpool spokeswoman Kristine Vernier issued a statement.

She said Whirlpool’s testing was carried out under the supervision of the U.S. EPA and Ohio EPA, which approved the company’s testing plan.

“All sampling and testing was conducted in accordance with the Phase II Work Plan approved in April 2013 by the U.S. EPA and the OEPA” Vernier said.

The results of the tests ought to reassure the Farleys, as they showed no evidence that local water is being contaminated, Vernier said.

“As you are aware, a total of 328 groundwater, surface water, soil, sediment and pool filter samples were taken and tested for 232 chemical compounds. The testing found no health risk and no evidence of hazardous illegal dumping. In particular, no PCBs or other man-made chemicals were detected in groundwater samples taken from monitoring wells throughout the property,” she said.

The Farleys are plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against Whirlpool by Alan Mortensen, a Utah attorney. Both sides are awaiting a ruling by U.S. District Judge James Carr on Whirlpool’s motion to dismiss the suit.

Mortensen insisted recently the result of the EPA’s testing shows dangerous chemicals in the former Whirlpool Park. PCBs, a dangerous carcinogen, were found in levels well above what the EPA considers acceptable, Mortensen said.

Benzo(a)pyrene, which causes cancer, was found in a concentration 86 times the accepted EPA level. High levels of three other suspected carcinogens, Benzo(a)anthracene, Benzo(b)flouranthene and Indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene, also were found in large amounts, Mortensen said.

The chemicals such as benzo(a)pyrene referred to by Mortensen are known as PAHs or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and authorities already have decided their presence in the Clyde area is no big deal, Vernier replied.

“First, these elevated levels are typical of urban soils and are commonly found in areas that have been used to burn trash and or used for outdoor barbecues. Second, PAHs stick firmly to soil, so you would have to actually eat or inhale the soil at high levels daily for an extremely long period of time to be exposed. Third, at levels found, the amount of benzo(a)pyrene was not above public health guidelines for overall cancer risks” Vernier said.

Whirlpool and Abdoo’s attorney are discussing what Whirlpool needs to do to clean up the Whirlpool Park property.

Renee said she wants the property cleaned up to meet residential standards, but she still wants her property tested, too, to see if she and her husband are in any danger.

Comments

mikesee

Well test it. Don't be cheap. Spend some money.

shovelhead

She wants her property tested.....to see if she can get a payday. Just move. If I thought my family was in danger, I would be gone. It's been proven in court that there is nothing wrong.....I would look at someone poisoning the dogs before I blamed a 60 year old dumping grounds.

Señor Clown

Yup, if you want testing done on your private land, the best way to accomplish it will be to contract it out. Of course when you've jumped on a lawsuit without that testing, I can see how that might make companies hesitant to get involved. You still have a lovely, isolated location and if you're interested in taking your chances on finding cleaner land elsewhere, a realtor would have been a safer bet than the lawyer.

TheScientist

Did you know that those same PAHs compounds are also found in food that has been grilled or charred over a flame? True story.

Thing thing about PAHs and PCBs is that once they enter the soil, they sit there. They do not migrate. Even when in the water table, they do not "like" water, and they stick to that specific groundwater location (usually because it's clinging to the sand/gravel layer that the groundwater flows through).

If Whirlpool and OEPA have made these reports public, and they include sample results, groundwater flow maps, and maps of all the wells, folks should stop freaking out about this. It also sounds to me like perhaps the 2 outside dogs were poisoned. Anti-freeze and mole/rat poison will do that with those symptoms.

nosey rosey

Everybody has their hands out. Pay to test your own land.

apinkribbongirl

Clyde, Ohio leads the nation as a confirmed childhood cancer cluster with 40+ children diagnosed with cancer. Clyde's small population, and comparing to the national average, a town the size of Clyde should have apx 3.4 children with cancer. What would you do if cancer started affecting lots of children in your town? What would you do if no one would consider buying your house because of the location and proximity to land confirmed by the EPA to be toxic? What do you do when a bank refuses a second mortgage because of the home's decreased value due to the location and EPA testing?

To be clear, NOTHING has been proven in court.

PCB's were found below the pool floor. That is a new finding.

Benzo(a)pyrene was found at a level eighty six times the acceptable level. See Table 4. Benzo(a)pyrene is known to cause cancer in humans, skin disorders in humans and animals and causes harmful developmental and reproductive side effects.  http://www.epa.gov/pbt/pubs/benz...  

Benzo(a)nthracene was found at the park at a level twelve times the acceptable level. See Table 4. Benzo(a)nthracene is known to cause an increased level of several forms of cancer, including childhood cancer. http://www.epa.gov/teach/chem_su... 

Benzo(b)fluoranthene was found at the park at a level over nine times the acceptable level. See Table 4. Benzo(b)fluoranthene is known to cause an increased level of several forms of cancer. http://www.epa.gov/iris/subst/04...

Inden{1,2,3-cd)pyrene was found at the park at a level over three times the acceptable level. See Table 4. Inden{1,2,3-cd)pyrene is a suspected human carcinogen.  http://www.epa.gov/iris.subst/04...

Presto

People should move out of Clyde immediately. That's what this story's about isn't it? No one has commented on the people living in Clyde so I will. It's kinda like the people who refuse to leave the nuclear fallout zone in Japan (Fukushima).... Years ago no one knew what was going on in Clyde (and obviously now everyone's still lying) but ALL citizens NOW KNOW what's going on in Clyde...Why in hell are people still living there?? I am serious --WHY WHY WHY??? (for that matter..why are people living in Ohio when there are so many other gorgeous places to live on earth? lol) Well of course, people live in Ohio out of habit and cause of family (etc) but how can anyone live in a community that IS KILLING THEM and ALL THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS???? If the adults in Clyde choose to subject themselves to cancer causing agents on purpose well that's their priviledge but how does anyone justify forcing their kids to live there????